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Sunday,  July 14, 2024 4:31 AM 

TICO announces end to final pandemic temporary regulatory amendments

  • Other
  •   03-25-2024  9:47 am
  •   Pax Global Media

TICO announces end to final pandemic temporary regulatory amendments
Pax Global Media


The Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) reminded travel professionals today (March 25) that the temporary regulatory amendments made to address the Covid-19 pandemic are set to expire in April and December.

At the time, the Ontario government amended the General Regulation (O. Reg. 26/05) under the Travel Industry Act, 2002 (TIA) to reduce the burden on Ontario’s registered travel agencies and tour operators and to assist certain travellers impacted by the pandemic.

Some of these changes were permanent, while others were time-limited to support the industry and consumers during a time of extreme hardship.

Here are the details of the final two temporary amendments set to expire this year:

December 1, 2024: Expiry of the temporary exemption from filing annual financial statements for registrants with Ontario Gross Sales of $2 million or greater.

  • For a period of four years, from December 1, 2020 to November 30, 2024, registrants with Ontario Gross Sales of $2 million or greater were only required to file a Verification Statement (a self-attestation of financial position), subject to a limited exception. All registrants who fall in this category will have benefited up to four times from the temporary exemption.
  • Registrants with Ontario Gross Sales of $2 million or greater whose year-end is on or before November 30, 2024 can still submit a Verification Statement for this year-end cycle. If a registrant is required to prepare an annual financial statement with a Review Engagement Report or Audit Opinion for any other purpose outside of TIA, it is still required to provide this report to TICO.
  • Registrants with Ontario Gross Sales of $2 million or greater whose year-end is on or after December 1, 2024 will be required to submit to TICO annual financial statements with a Review Engagement Report or an Audit Opinion, as the registrant prefers.




Permanent burden reduction changes (implemented in 2020):

  • Registrants whose Ontario Gross Sales are less than $2 million can choose to continue to submit a Verification Statement, as this was a permanent change as of March 30, 2020. This permanent change benefits nearly 75% of TICO’s registrants.
  • Registrants whose Ontario Gross Sales are $10 million or greater are not required to submit an Audit Opinion and instead have the option to submit a Review Engagement Report, as this was a permanent change as of March 30, 2020.


Please see the table below for a summary of financial filing requirements:


Registrant’s Ontario Gross Sales during the previous fiscal year

Annual financial documents required and time limitations

Other financial

documents required

Less than $2 million

Required: Verification Statement

N/A

$2 million to less than

$10 million

For registrants with year-ends on or before November 30, 2024


Required: Verification Statement


A Review Engagement Report or Audit Opinion are only required to be submitted to TICO if already being completed for any other purpose.


For registrants with year-ends on or after December 1, 2024


Required: Review Engagement Report or Audit Opinion, as the registrant prefers.

N/A

$10 million to less than $20 million

For registrants with year-ends on or before November 30, 2024


Required: Verification Statement



A Review Engagement Report or Audit Opinion are only required to be submitted to TICO if already being completed for any other purpose.


For registrants with year-ends on or after December 1, 2024


Required: Review Engagement Report or Audit Opinion, as the registrant prefers.

For travel agencies: semi-annual statements


For travel wholesalers: quarterly financial statements


For registrants who are both travel agencies and travel wholesalers: quarterly financial statements.

$20 million or greater

For registrants with year-ends on or before November 30, 2024


Required: Verification Statement



A Review Engagement Report or Audit Opinion are only required to be submitted to TICO if already being completed for any other purpose.


For registrants with year-ends on or after December 1, 2024


Required: Review Engagement Report or Audit Opinion, as the registrant prefers.

Quarterly financial statements


Why is the option to submit a Verification Statement expiring for registrants with Ontario Gross Sales of $2 million or greater?

The regulatory amendment that allowed registrants with Ontario Gross Sales of $2 million or greater to submit a Verification Statement was time-limited, with a view to reduce burden and cost as a result of the pandemic’s significant impacts on the sector.

As consumer demand for travel continues to recover to near pre-pandemic levels, it’s important for TICO to receive comprehensive financial information from larger registrants to help ensure consumers are protected.

April 1, 2024: Expiry of temporary expanded coverage of unredeemed vouchers and similar documents under the Travel Industry Compensation Fund. 

  • For a period of four years, from March 31, 2020 until March 31, 2024, coverage under the Travel Industry Compensation Fund was expanded to include possible consumer claims involving unredeemed vouchers or similar documents.
  • During this period, if a consumer was unable to redeem a voucher or similar document issued by a TICO registered travel agency or tour operator for future travel services because of a failure of that company due to COVID-19, the consumer may have been eligible for reimbursement under the Travel Industry Compensation Fund. This expanded coverage did NOT include vouchers issued directly to a consumer by an end supplier, such as an airline, cruise line or hotel. The temporary expanded coverage of unredeemed vouchers only applies to failures of TICO registered travel agencies and tour operators due to COVID-19 that take place up until March 31, 2024.
  • The expanded consumer coverage under the Travel Industry Compensation Fund was linked to a temporary change that allowed TICO registered travel agencies and tour operators to issue travel vouchers or similar documents in lieu of refunds in certain circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic. This temporary amendment to O. Reg. 26/05 already expired on March 31, 2023, but provided consumers with one additional year of expanded coverage under the Travel Industry Compensation Fund should a voucher become unredeemable due to the potential failure of a TICO registered travel agency or tour operator due to COVID-19.


Permanent change (implemented in 2020):

Consumers who have redeemed a voucher or similar document issued by a TICO registered travel agency or tour operator, but did not receive their travel services due to the failure of that company, may continue to have eligible claims against the Travel Industry Compensation Fund. This was a permanent change as of March 30, 2020.


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